(PR) (Altoona, PA) – The Altoona Curve built an early 4-0 lead and barely held off Trenton late to hand the Thunder their season-high fourth consecutive loss, 5-4, Saturday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. An unfortunate break on a ground-rule double in the eighth inning prevented Trenton (70-49) from tying the game and then Curve closer Vic Black struck out the side in the ninth on ten pitches.
With the Thunder trailing 5-3 in the eighth and runners on first and second base with two outs, Abraham Almonte drilled a ball that hit the base of the right-field fence and lodged itself either in between or behind two panels of the wall. Because the ball disappeared from view the play was ruled a ground-rule double and only one run scored and the tying run was sent back to third base.
The next batter was Jose Pirela who batted with runners on second and third against reliever Mike Colla, who induced an inning-ending ground out to third base to keep the score 5-4. The fire-baller Black then entered for the ninth and fanned Zoilo Almonte, Luke Murton and Addison Maruszak in a dominating inning to end the game.
Altoona scored two runs in each the first and second innings against Trenton starter Brett Marshall (12-5) to build a big lead. Oscar Tejeda lifted a two-out, two-run double that appeared to be misplayed by Abe Almonte in center to open the scoring in the first. Quincy Latimore’s RBI hit highlighted the scoring in the second.
Adonis Garcia got the Thunder on the board in the fourth with an RBI single against Altoona starter Phil Irwin (4-7), and Trenton plated two runs in the sixth to draw within 4-3 thanks to help of a dropped fly ball by Latimore in center.
Mark Montgomery entered in relief of Marshall in the seventh and was hurt by a dropped fly ball by Rob Segedin in left off the bat of Ramon Cabrera that was ruled a double. The play ultimately led to the Curve’s fifth run as Matt Curry later drove home Cabrera with a sac fly.
The teams conclude the series and Trenton tries to avoid being swept for the first time this season on Sunday night at 6:00 pm. Right-hander Dellin Betances (3-1, 4.23) is expected to start for Trenton while Altoona counters with righty Brandon Cumpton (10-9, 3.82). Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and also streaming online begins at 5:45 pm